Colonial Dames Hear About Family Duel
Colonial Dames XVII Century Deep River Chapter held its fall luncheon meeting at National Golf Club Friday, Nov. 7. Following opening rituals, President Anne Ratcliffe announced that October was designated Colonial Heritage Month and to honor that the program for the day would focus on a colonial ancestor of two of our members.
In keeping with this theme, Ratcliffe talked about the Oct. 7 wreath laying ceremony at the Kings Mountain National Battleground State Park in South Carolina. This was the 228th anniversary of the actual Kings Mountain battle. Ratcliffe represented the State of North Carolina at this event, which was sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution, with representatives from SAR, DAR and the National Society of Colonial Dames XVII Century. Each organization presented a wreath, and this had particular meaning for Ratcliffe since her ancestor, Lt. Col. Frederick Hambright, was one of the commanders of the battle.
Following lunch member Mae Boyer Cooper, a charter member of the Deep River Chapter and current Parliamentarian, shared a fascinating story about her ancestor, E.B.C. Cash of Virginia. Cooper and her sister, Jacquelyn Oakley, who is currently treasurer of the Deep River Chapter, have a number of stories about their ancestors some of which have been compiled, along with stories from other members, into a booklet about ancestors of members of North Carolina Colonial Dames XVII Century.
Cooper's story about E.B.C. Cash happened 129 years ago and involved a duel between Cash and William Shannon, both former Confederate colonels. In this time period, duels were common among the aristocracy. Often referred to as a "code of honor," duels were believed to uphold Southern manhood in an era when honor was dearer than life. In this era to not accept a challenge to duel was a disgrace, and many duels were fought over fairly minor disagreements.
This duel took place near Bishopville in traditional fashion. Both men were dressed in formal dueling attire, placed 15 paces apart with loaded pistols in hand. Col. Cash, was from Chesterfield County, and was the wealthy landowner of a large plantation. Col. Shannon, of Kershaw County, was also wealthy and an historian and owner of a large private library. Both men, in their 50s, were lawyers and former members of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Both were reputed to be crack shots. When the umpire signaled the beginning of the duel (each would get just one shot) Shannon fired first hitting the ground at Cash's feet. The cloud of dirt that arose stung Cash's face causing him to believe that he had been hit. Cash took aim and shot Shannon in the chest, killing him instantly.
The cause of the duel began when Shannon sued Cash's wife's brother over a judgment of $2,000. Subsequent to the judgment, many letters were exchanged between Shannon and Cash escalating the feud until it finally resulted in this duel, which turned out to be the last duel ever fought in South Carolina.
As an epilogue, Cooper recounted how on the 100th anniversary of the Cash-Shannon duel, some descendants of the two families proposed to meet in a reunion. The word came back from one family: "It is entirely too soon to think about such a thing. It has only been 100 years!"
Following Cooper's presentation, Ratcliffe opened the business meeting. Cynthia Buttner, chair of the veterans' service committee, announced that this year's chapter project would be Project Able, a local effort headed by Frank Quis to help soldiers and their families in times of need. Buttner announced that to date nearly $500 had been collected from Deep Chapter members.
Ratcliffe also announced that North Carolina would be responsible for decorating one of the luncheon tables at the national convention in Washington, D.C., in April and that she would represent the chapter at the Gov. James Moore Chapter 50th Anniversary celebration Saturday, Nov. 8. This celebration included the cemetery commemoration at the Buffalo Church in Sanford, a visit to the historic Camelback Bridge and conclude with a visit to an historic Jordan House in Gulf.
As a final order of business, Natalie Scott, Cynthia Buttner and Mae Cooper were approved as the nominating committee to develop the officer slate for 2009-2011.
The meeting was closed with a prayer led by Chaplain Constance Tingley.
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